Polycarbonate-based material for automotive interiors

"One simple, but effective possibility is the production of three-dimensional laser-engraved graining with two different levels of gloss," says Philipp Möller, project manager and application developer at Bayer MaterialScience’s Polycarbonates Business Unit. In this application, the high flowability and processing temperature of the PC+ABS blend Bayblend HG allows for the precise reproduction of the graining. "The structure also provides a natural form of scratch protection," adds Möller. The high-quality, glossy surface can then be coated in a particular color using coatings formulated with polyurethane raw materials from Bayer MaterialScience, for instance.

The use of the metallizable product Bayblend T65 PG greatly expands the spectrum of design possibilities. Attractive chrome surfaces can be produced on the component by means of galvanic plating. Furthermore, fascinating structures with matte or high-gloss designs can be produced using the StrukturChrom process, a decorating technology developed by Gerhardi. Components with integrated lighting provide a look at the plastic surface below. Three-dimensional laser engraving is also possible.

Polycarbonate films such as Makrofol HF open up further prospects for the visual design of automotive interiors. These scratch-resistant, coated films are robust and thanks to new processing technologies can also be shaped three-dimensionally. The result is components with a customized appearance.

One interesting variant are surfaces with daytime/nighttime designs that are a good fit with the current infotainment trend. The optical display is only visible when switched on and is produced by means of LEDs behind the film. Otherwise the driver sees only an elegant, matte-black surface. Bayer researchers developed the black panel technology behind this a couple of years ago.